Dohman Law Group Logo

Illinois Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

If a police officer suspects you’re driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they’ll pull you over and give you a breathalyzer test, to measure your blood alcohol content. In Illinois, there are many blood alcohol content levels that will result in a drunk driving arrest. 

Any underage driver who has a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.08% will face a DUI conviction and spend time in jail. Drivers under 21 years old are subject to Illinois’ zero-tolerance law, and any trace of alcohol in their blood will lead to a DUI arrest. Commercial drivers with blood alcohol levels above 0.04% will be arrested and face automatic license suspension. The criminal penalties for a DUI charge include license suspension or revocation, fines, criminal record, and jail time.

If you’re facing DUI charges in Illinois, you need a DUI criminal defense attorney with an excellent understanding of Illinois blood alcohol concentration levels and the law--and the science that’s crucial in BAC testing. You need an experienced DUI attorney with expertise and knowledge to defend you effectively. 

Does BAC Stand for Blood Alcohol Content?

The blood alcohol content is also referred to as blood alcohol concentration or BAC. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is used to measure alcohol intoxication levels for legal purposes.

BAC is a percentage of ethanol in the blood in units of mass of alcohol per volume of blood. For instance, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 means there are 0.04 g of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood.

In Rolling Meadows and the entire Illinois, a driver is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs if he or she has blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or more. Even though in Illinois the legal alcohol limit for drivers is 0.08, a driver can still be arrested and convicted of drunk driving when his or her BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, and if there’s additional evidence proving they were driving while intoxicated.

How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Alcohol Levels?

The two primary factors that determine how alcohol affects include the rate at which you consumed alcohol and the rate at which alcohol was absorbed in your body. Also, a person’s age, body weight, tolerance to alcohol, amount and type of food consumed, and mood and environment, determine the level of impairment.

Consuming even a small amount of alcohol can affect your judgment, balance, and coordination. Thus, if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit of 0.08%, it can slow down your reflexes and reaction times. Studies show that a BAC between 0.04 and 0.05 increases the odds of a driver being involved in a car accident. Other studies show that a driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.06% is twice as likely to get involved in a motor vehicle accident with deadly consequences than a driver who didn’t consume any alcohol. At a blood alcohol content level of 0.08, you’re 11 times more likely to be involved in such a deadly car accident.

The only way to reduce your BAC level is to allow time to pass without consuming alcohol. On average, it takes your body one hour to metabolize one alcoholic drink--a 5-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, or a 12-ounce glass of beer. So, taking a cold shower, drinking coffee, or consuming food won’t increase sobriety and decrease your blood alcohol content.

Illinois Blood Alcohol Concentration laws

What are the Penalties for Illinois DUI with Blood Alcohol Content Level of 0.06 or Higher?

In Illinois, the breathalyzer test is part of every driving under the influence arrest. That’s because it’s the state’s best evidence that the driver is guilty. Thus, a BAC level of 0.08% or more is a violation of subsection 625 ILCS 5/11-501. However, a breath test does more because a high breath alcohol content can subject a DUI offender to additional penalties and a severe sentence if found guilty.

Under Illinois DUI law any defendant who is found guilty and has an alcohol content in his or her blood, breath, or other bodily substance of 0.16 or more is subject to mandatory minimums. Thus, in Illinois, a breathalyzer result that’s double the legal limit results in additional criminal penalties.

A mandatory minimum is a minimum sentence that’s mandatory in all DUI cases. Here, the judge has can’t deviate from the minimum sentence.

For a first-time DUI offense in Illinois, a BAC of 0.16% or more causes a sentence of 100 community service hours and a minimum fine of $500. The 100 hours of community service have to be performed during the sentence, subject to local criminal court rules.

In Cook County, you can serve the hours of community service by taking part in the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP).

The first-time DUI offender will pay the $500 in addition to any other additional fines and court costs. Also, all first DUI offenders must pay a DUI technology fee of $500, which totals $1,000. County boards set the court costs, and every county is unique. 

If the defendant is found guilty of a second DUI with a blood or breath alcohol content of 0.16 or more, the mandatory minimum sentence is two days in jail and a minimum fine of $1,250. The two days jail sentence isn’t subject to reduction. This means the credits for day-to-day or good behavior allowances that reduce a jail sentence by 50% under the County jail Good Behavior Allowance Act aren’t applicable. Thus, the second-time DUI offender must serve all two days in jail. 

On the third DUI violation, if your blood or breath alcohol concentration was 0.16 or more, then the court will sentence you to a minimum of 90 days in jail and you must pay a fine of $2,500. Here, the defendant isn’t eligible for early release. The terms that describe early release from the county jail, such as “good time” credits and “day-to-day” credits, aren’t applicable to a mandatory minimum jail sentence.

A third DUI offense is a Class 2 felony offense in Illinois, which carries a sentence of three to seven years in prison and a fine of $25,000. Also, the DUI offender would be eligible for probation. 

A fourth or subsequent DUI offenses have no mandatory jail sentence for blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 because, in these situations, the DUI offense is a non-probationally felony. 

That means a judge can’t sentence the defendant to a probation period even if he or she wanted to. 

What is the Illinois Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?

  • A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more is the intoxication level where a driver is said to be legally drunk in Illinois. 
  • In Illinois, you can be arrested and prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC of more than 0.05% but less than 0.08%.

Can a Blood Test Show Heavy Drinking?

Blood tests are one of the most reliable ways of detecting heavy alcohol consumption. Also, blood tests can accurately measure the blood alcohol level. Many blood tests use direct and indirect biomarkers to show how a person’s organs function. 

Alcohol consumption affects indirect biomarkers; however, alcohol isn’t the only thing that affects them. While direct markers only occur after alcohol consumption. Thus, they’re accurate predictors of the amount of alcohol a person has consumed recently. 

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, call the DUI defense attorneys at Dohman Law Group for a free initial consultation at (847) 616-9993 or get in touch with us through our contact form. Our DUI defense lawyers have decades of experience representing clients facing drunk driving charges throughout the Chicagoland area, including Cook County, Dupage County, Kendall County, Will County, and Lake County. Don’t wait! Call us today!

Text Us
homebubblecrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram